a mom who did babyproof to a certain extent (no toilet locks!), I certainly don’t blame folks who do. But I certainly don’t blame folks who don’t, either. And since there are about a million levels of proofing, my advice is simple: Don’t judge! – L.Â
Dear Free-Range Kids: I’d love to get your input on this!I recently mentioned to an acquaintance who also has young children that my house isn’t baby-proofed. At all. And that I actually don’t really believe in it. She looked at me like I was a monster!I can remember when I made the decision not to lock my fridge, cover every outlet, and baby-proof every cabinet near the floor. My mother had just come to visit for my older daughter’s first birthday, and it was also her first time in our new home. We had been there since our daughter was nine months old and hadn’t yet managed to unpack everything, let alone install highly complicated locking mechanisms on our toilets. I mentioned (rather apologetically) that we still needed to baby-proof the house. My mother’s response?”Why?”
I didn’t have a good answer. All I could do was sort of mumble “It’s safer.” And, “Aren’t we supposed to?”
At this point, my mom reminded me that the home my siblings and I grew up in wasn’t baby-proofed at all (we were all born in the ’70s). It was an 1800s farmhouse with sharp corners, gas stove, steep steps, woodburning fireplace – the works. I asked her how she kept us from losing limbs or burning the place down. She simply said “I taught you.” Though according to her, we did come close on the “burning the place down” thing a couple of times.
That one-year-old is now two and a half. She is independent and curious about her world. She knows what can and cannot be played with in our house. She understands that the things she is currently too young to touch, she will be taught how to use as she gets older. She doesn’t run into streets. She has all of her fingers and toes. She has never once tried to stick something in a power socket. Our one concession to childproofing was anchoring our bookshelves. They are huge, heavy, and act as a room divider, and our thought was that a visiting adult could knock them over and get injured just as easily as a child.
Are we doing something wrong by not child-proofing our house and our life? Am I putting my child in constant danger? Until I got the dirty look a few days ago, I thought we were doing it right!
Thanks for your input, Mira
Hi Mira! My input, as stated above is: Do what you feel makes sense for you and your family…while understanding that the marketplace tries to make parents scared so it can assuage those fears with a product (or 90). Simple as that! – L